Slouching Towards Everything

Yesterday's photo challenge topic was "Manmade." I had that sewn up by 5 am when I took a photo of my spinach and feta omelette.

But what I really wanted to do was create a "childfree-people-who-don't-like-wine guide to the Margaret River region," since we'd spent several hours driving around MR the day before. See, the guide would have photos, and the guide itself would be manmade, plus I could finally get over the guilt of having visited Margaret River three times now and not once having blogged about one of this half of Australia's top tourist destinations.

However, too much sun through the car windows caused me to feel drugged and off the next day, so guide-making was more fuss than I could bear. When I started feeling less oogy, though, I baked cherry cola cupcakes (which I nearly sorta blogged about two years ago) and took slightly better (read: used the real camera but didn't bother to find a flattering angle) photos... but again, I was tired and meh and it's such a bother waiting those seconds for photos to transfer from the camera to the iPad (it's a little boggling that I now prefer using the Snapseed app to using Photoshop on the computer), so... I pooped out. Maybe I'll become like that Twitter account that just describes photos instead of sharing them.

HOLD ON.

Car rides?

Hours spent traveling?

WHAT THE BLOODY WHAT-WHAT?

Hey yeah, guess what?

I CAN SIT AGAIN!

(Mostly. Sometimes.)

On Wednesday I went to see a physiotherapist for the first time. Fun aside: I had mentioned to Dad more than once in my Skype messages how I might see a physiotherapist and then how I finally made an appointment.

After mentioning it to the GP I've been seeing, he shrugged off seeing a physio as something it wouldn't hurt to try, spoken as if I might also try a selection of mail-order voodoo products. This would be the same GP who said my level of pain and not being able to sit was my new "baseline," and that all I could really do is work hard at losing weight and hope that things got better.

I don't like going to the doctor. That I've been to the emergency room twice since coming here after never having been at all in the 43 years prior to recently is mind-blowing to me. Oh, did I not mention the second trip? Yeah, on the same GP visit where I was informed of my new "baseline," two days before Christmas, I fainted in his office. No good reason. One minute I was standing, the next I was blacking out. Off he sent me to the hospital, barely talked out of ringing an ambulance. Could've made a big post out of this, but there was no oxycodone or gurney rides, so it couldn't really compare to the first visit. Also, there was no diagnosis. "You were probably just stressed."

(I don't think I felt stressed until by the time we arrived at the hospital and I was triaged then waited for awhile then eventually moved to an open pediatric bay. By then my blood pressure was up from 88/55, but only to 99/60. Then I started to wobble a little from my "Guys, I just fainted, no biggie" stance. But, despite being fat - which we all know is a moral failing for which I should be regularly publicly shamed </sarcasm> - apparently I really am quite healthy, back mess aside. I don't take that as an excuse to slack but as encouragement that all is not lost.)

Anyway, if the doctor was iffy about physical therapy, I wasn't very hopeful. Disc bulge. Stenosis. What's a PT going to do? I can't lose weight any faster. (Um, unless I stop baking cupcakes. Although, to be fair, my diet is not particularly bad - it's my lack of regular exercise that keeps me fat. Yeah, I know. But I only ate two. And I skipped dinner. And lunch, come to think of it. Shut up. I've already what the hell'd myself. Moving on.)

The physiotherapist looked at my L4/L5 bulge and the description of stenosis and said, "This is nothing." I did all kinds of movement while he observed. Then he suggested some specific stretches (and made the most darling stick figure illustrations for later reference on his note pad - I should photograph those). Then he dropped the bombshell:

"Slouch."

I wish HTML supported double-underlining because that's how he wrote it on my take-home sheet.

Slouch.

(There we go.)

Sooooo.... everyone talks about proper posture like it's the bestest thing that gets you invited to all of the inner circle tea parties. (Speaking of tea parties, I was one of the first ten backers for this game on Kickstarter and am immensely sad that I didn't blog about it, since it met its stretch goals and will be shipping with faux sugar cubes and a little bell, but the bell is only for those of us who pledged. My apologies. Look for it in shops in June!) On previous visits to the GP, I showed off how well I was sitting since this back nonsense started. I told everyone who would listen (Mike, Dad) how I could feel my stomach muscles tightening just from all of the magnificent posture I was now employing. It was the slightly shiny grey lining in a mass of dark clouds.

Turns out, standing or sitting with the proverbial ramrod up the tush was perhaps a good coping strategy at first, but as these two, nearly three, months of issues have gone on, all it was doing was multiplying the pain.

The physio then gave me a deep tissue massage, which met whole new standards for multiplying the pain. But, by the end of it, I was cured. Like, "Tiny Tim hurls his crutches into the fireplace" cured. (The physio also said I had "very strong" back muscles, which was the last thing this slackadoodle expected to hear. Honestly: stellar DNA, solid blood work, healthy heart, strong back, vegetarian, a tendency to forget to eat rather than overeat... and I'm still fat?! It's almost a talent at this point.)

To get to the physio's office, I had traveled lying down in the back seat. And since Australia requires seat belts in the back seat, things were a little MacGuyver back there. It was actually sort of impressive.

But to leave, I rode in the front seat with a folded T-shirt behind me for a little extra support. And then I felt so good, we drove directly from the medical office to Harvey to see the cheesemaking factory there. I couldn't ride to the grocery store a few days earlier, but now? Now? Now? NOW? I could ride anywhere!

The next morning I woke up in the usual agony. (Plus bruised up from the massage.) I took some Panadol Osteo, did my stretches, and by midday I felt up to a trip to Margaret River. It was like I was shooting rainbow dust out of my nose. (I don't know what that means, either. Like a really happy horse snort? Or like I was cocaine? I don't know.)

Yesterday I didn't wake up to particularly bad discomfort. (Just distracting enough to dose up again on Panadol Osteo, aka Extra-Strength Tylenol.) I did notice that the numbness that started this whole spiral into stupidity way back when had returned, though. (And brought a friend called "feels like cold water running down the top of my thigh" numbness.)

So we'll just see what happens. I've been sitting at the computer for almost ninety minutes this morning, and the numbness is fairly mild. So we'll see. (I have to keep reminding myself every two minutes to slouch. We went out to eat in Busselton on our way home after Margaret River, and I wanted to make a sign that said, "My mother taught me proper table manners but my therapist insists that I sit like a hobo against an alley wall." Long sign, though, and I never remember to carry posterboard and markers with me.)

I go back to the physio in four days. Here's one more highlight from my first visit:

"So... this disc bulge can be cured?"

He laughed. "Absolutely. Three months."

Calendar marked.

11 January 2014 |

Previously: Natch
Next: The Judgement of Mustard


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